After the high of completing the first day, I had a bit of a mood crash late last night. Which sucks, because I felt like a zombie by ten, but I didn't fall asleep until after eleven. Stupid alarm at 6.20am. Boo, tired.
This morning I told myself sternly that I shall suck it up and ignore any anxiety. A mantra, if you will--I will have a good day! I will be a positive and stern teacher who controls the class while inspiring them!
If I do say so myself, I believe I achieved that today. I let myself bark just a teeny bit at several students who were tiptoeing out of line, to let the kids know I'm not going to play that.
We spent a lot of time today doing many different activities: finding, thinking about, writing about, discussing our theme; also practicing talking with partners and groups, as I explicitly explained and positively commented on the things I should see during those tasks (eye contact, low voices, all on task); discussing respect and rules; reviewing ways for being prepared (mentally, in appearance, and with supplies) and emphasized that every day we (the students and me as well) make a choice to succeed and find that excellence. I said it six different ways so they would understand that I really mean it. I want to say it often, I want them to say it, I want them to see it, I want them to do it. As I talked about that, all eyes were on me, their faces open and even some nodding. I hope they buy into it and that I can show them it's possible to do your best every day.
Other than that small section, I kept things very interactive, so it wasn't me lecturing them about not eating in class and being quiet. I let them do the thinking and the reasoning, and you should have seen all the hands! They were eager to share, and I was able to call on lots of students and begin learning names (mainly because I made seating charts before school). And I scaffolded the things we discussed, bringing back some basics from yesterday. I plan on doing that every day this week and maybe once or twice a week after that. Once or twice I let myself get the smallest bit funny--demonstrating for one class complying with a request rudely, exaggeratedly sucking my teeth and pulling a face. The kids giggled but I didn't let it get too out of control.
Some other teachers are starting 'real' work already, but I'm happy with what I'm doing. In light of my past experience, taking things slowly seems a good idea: going step by step, making it clear exactly what they need to do, how to do well, hear positive feedback, and building a good year.
I will have a good day tomorrow. I will do my best. I will be firm and stern, but also fair and supportive. I will be patient and mature. I will guide and lead the students so they feel empowered and challenged.